A Puppy Raiser Says Goodbye
(Editor’s note: Devin Folkman, along with her family, has raised puppies Mastro and Suba. Here in her college application essay, Devin shares what it was like to say “goodbye” the first time.)
I was not ready for this day to come, but knew he was ready to start his new path.
The night before was uneasy; I mean sleeping on the frigid floor deprived me from sleep. As my family piled into the car, what seemed like a million thoughts and concerns consumed my mind. I replayed the entire journey: from eighteen to sixty-five pounds and contemplated the task given to me, hoping that the numerous hours of obedience and exposures had help transformed him into someone else’s safe haven.
Half an hour flew by, and, before I knew it, we were pulling onto the campus we call Guide Dog U. I truly love this place. The place I found myself through countless hours of hard work and training. Through the triumphs and challenges, I gained many life experiences from this organization.
The parking lot was full of anxious people; some were veterans at this while others were first timers, like me. As my foot stepped out of the car, my stomach went with it. We started walking up the sidewalk, pulling towards every future classmate with each step.
When I reached the building, a voice spoke, “Please put all blue puppy coats in the box.” The grip I had finally loosened enough for me to place it in the box. Deep down I realized that his training coat would not be the only thing that I would return today. Suspense built as I proceeded to the door, while using a commanding voice for a final time. As I stumbled into the room my eyes immediately locked onto sobbing families and a big brown door. I knew what was behind that door: his new home.
Minutes after walking into the room, the ceremony began. I sat down next to my mom, while his head laid on my foot. I felt him comforting me like he always did. Whether I was overwhelmed with school or mourning over the loss of loved ones, he always managed to give me a reason to smile. They started calling the list of names, and now it was time for me to give back to the community.
The last moments walking towards the back door were a blur. I slid on the new collar that was attached to a different leash and said my goodbyes. I was upset, yet proud to give someone in need a gift. I knew this would be the hardest part of raising, but also the most rewarding deed I have done in my life.
For the past year, I endured the late night howls, chewed up rugs, and accidents all over the house, and yet, I was still holding on to that leash, not wanting to let go. Now I start the commitment all over again, with a new puppy to raise.